Bringing the Economy Home

Idaho’s Business Personal Property Tax By The Numbers

Molly Messick / StateImpact

All the drawers, shelving, and buckets that hold sweets at Powell's Candy Shoppe in Boise are taxed annually.

Over the next few days, StateImpact Idaho will roll out radio features, an interactive map, and county-by-county data on Idaho’s business personal property tax.

Why? The tax has long been loathed by some businesses and their lobbyists. The Legislature is under increasing pressure to decide how and when to repeal the tax during the current session, after taking a stab at it 2008.

So, we want to put Idaho’s personal property tax in context. Is this a tax that stifles business and burdens small mom-and-pop companies? Who pays the most? Who will benefit the if the tax is eliminated? We’ll answer many of these questions over the next few days.  First, here are some personal property tax tidbits to wet your whistle:

By The Numbers

  • 53,226 Idaho companies pay personal property tax
  • The median payment in 2011 was $89.64
  • The average payment in 2011 was $1,789.42
  • Businesses paid a total of $95,243,837.07 in 2011
  • 382 companies paid less than $1 in 2011
  • 6,904 companies paid less than $5 in 2011
  • One of the top personal property tax payers is the J.R. Simplot Company. If we combine the amounts paid by all of its Idaho businesses, Simplot paid $3,678,042.45 in 2011.

These stats can all be attributed to data from the Idaho State Tax Commission. Look for our county-by-county interactive map, coming soon!


  • BRR

    Can someone tell me if this sequence is typically correct?

    1. Idaho businesses buy much of their equipment and supplies sales tax free under Idaho’s Sales Tax Exemptions and Exceptions which total $1.8 billion a year.

    2. They then take the cost of the equipment as a tax deduction on income tax returns as a business expense.

    3. During the life of the equipment they take a depreciation deduction

    Thank you

  • hrkn

    I believe it keenly important the costs of this tax break are not passed on to the general citizenry through an increase of taxes of any kind. In order to repeal this tax, the aforementioned ought to be absolutely assured. It also should not be repealed at the expense of our local and county governments.

    The IACI’s (corporate lobbying organization leading the push for passage) statement claims that “…studies indicate that the elimination of the tax not only benefits businesses, but will increase the personal income of Idaho citizens.” Okay, sure, I am quite curious about those studies?

    Common sense says that those citizens whose income will increase are indeed the business owners themselves, and not the general citizenry at all. Furthermore the benefits to business are skewed heavily toward the largest businesses. Perhaps that is what those previously mentioned studies say?

    I fail to see how this tax break could benefit the majority of Idaho citizens in the least. Trickle down economics as a policy has been failing to trickle for three decades, and needn’t be entertained as a valid option. At least not with a straight face.

    The elimination of the Personal Property Tax without definitive protection from the socialization of it’s cost would be egregious — not in a good way.

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